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Manhattan Mussel Chowder

April 24, 2016

This was going to be a Long Island chowder, which lands somewhere between a traditional, creamy New England chowder and a tomato-based Manhattan. (I was drawing on this recipe for inspiration.) But in the end I decided to forego the cream, so it’s a straight-up Manhattan chowder, only with mussels.

Two flavours give this a wonderful kick: some Old Bay seasoning, and smoked fish. I used a smoked haddock filet instead of bacon (which would be so good in this, but this is a pescatarian-friendly recipe).

This little blog has been pretty neglected lately. I going to try to get back into the swing of things, whether it’s blogging new recipes or tweaking the ones already up here. This particular soup I’ll be making again and again….

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Manhattan Mussel Chowder

about 3 lbs mussels, rinsed, prepped, beards trimmed if you like to do that
1 cup white wine, divided
a dash or two of chili flakes
medium onion, diced small
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 bay leaves
3 tbsp or so olive oil
2 tbsp butter
leek, chopped
about 3 potatoes (3/4 of a pound), peeled, diced small
2 stalks celery, diced small
3 carrots, peeled and diced small
salt & pepper, to taste
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
1 can (28 oz) whole tomatoes, chopped, with liquid
4 cups fish stock
1 tbsp Worchestershire
1 filet smoked whitefish (haddock or whatever is available), chopped
1 can baby clams, drained

IMG_37161. Prep the mussels, discarding any broken ones, or ones that won’t close even after running under cold water or tapping them on the counter. Warm 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large saute pan over medium heat. Add a dash of chili flakes, 1 bay leaf and half the chopped onion. Cook a couple minutes, until the onion is beginning to soften, then add half the chopped garlic. Add 1/2 cup of the wine, followed by the mussels. Cover, turn heat up to medium-high, and cook, for about eight minutes, until the mussels have (mostly) all opened, the flesh is firm and pulls easily away from the shell. For even cooking, be sure to stir the mussels around every couple minutes for even heat distribution.

2. Drain the mussels, making sure to reserve the liquid. Set aside. Shell most of the mussels, saving about a dozen or so mussels in their shells for presentation.

3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining 2 tbsp olive oil and the butter in a large (or the same) Dutch oven. And a pinch of chili flakes, the other bay leaf and the rest of the onion. Cook for a couple minutes until the onion is beginning to soften. Add the look and cook a minute or two. Next add the garlic, cook for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the potatoes, salt & pepper, and Old Bay and cook 3-4 minutes to give the potatoes a good start. Add the celery cook, stir for a couple minutes. Add the carrots and do the same.

IMG_37194. Add the tomaotes with their liquid. Add the reserved liquid from the mussels. Add the other 1/2 cup wine and the fish stock. Keep this at a simmer for about 25 minutes, until the vegetables are about cooked.

5. Add the smoked fish and the Worchestershire. Cook, stirring, for about five minutes to let the smokiness of the fish spread through the soup. Add the mussels, both shelled and the ones still in their shells, and the baby clams (without the liquid from the can). Cook until these are warmed through.

Obviously fresh clams would be much nicer. Those aren’t as plentiful on PEI as mussels, and they’re more expensive. I thought about doing this soup without the clams at all.

Next time, I may try to make it creamy and take this soup to Long Island.

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